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Group approves co-sponsorship of 12-hour dance marathon

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Saint Mary’s Board of Governance met Monday night to approve a $2,500 co-sponsorship for the initiation of a 12-hour dance marathon set to take place in April that will benefit Riley’s Children’s Hospitals.

The Riley Dance Marathon is a volunteer event that takes place at colleges and universities throughout Indiana. Residence Hall Association service chair Amy Dardinger and First-Year Class President Francesca Johnson hope to bring the event to the College.

“Many schools across the state participate in this event, which raises thousands of dollars for Riley’s [Hospitals],” Dardinger said. “So many schools are getting on board with this service project, so why aren’t we?”

Their goal for the dance marathon event is to gather at least 100 participants who would dance from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. in the Angela Athletic Facility to raise funds for Riley’s Children’s Hospital. The money gathered from the event would help the hospital maintain its mission to never turn a child away regardless of their family’s financial status, Dardinger said.

Together, Dardinger and Johnson have organized a dance marathon committee of approximately 30 students who will work to raise necessary funds for the event.

Dardinger said the event is not just for the marathon dancers, but would be an overnight event of food and music for all students and faculty, along with children from the hospital.

To participate, marathon dancers must write letters to family and friends to request donations that will be sent directly to the hospital.

Johnson explained to the board that the most difficult aspect of the marathon is its initial organization. The event requires catering, hiring a D.J. and security guards, along with other miscellaneous expenses. It would prove difficult for the College to regain the money they put into the event because all incoming donations go entirely to the hospital, she said.

She also said that when Purdue began the event, they did not break even, however in the long run, it paid off.

“We would have to start small and grow as years passed,” she said. “Through advertising and cooperation, we would eventually be able to find a balance of giving and taking funds.”

Due to their already strained budget, the Board had a mixed reaction to the idea of co-sponsoring the event.

“I feel that their plans for this event are not concrete,” Student Activities Board president Megan Cahill said. “I just don’t think that they should ask for all this money from us.”

Junior Class president Heidi Goeppinger agreed. She said Student Government had already planned volunteer events with Habitat for Humanity and the dance marathon committee should seek funds from other places.

Missions commissioner Jenny Robbins, however, felt that the event would benefit the College community.

“Events like this are what co-sponsorships were started for, but lately it seems we have only been sponsoring students participating in one-time event,” she said. “[Sponsorships] were originally for things that would have a long term benefit for the College and create a legacy.”

Women Issues Commissioner Katie Kelly agreed.

“I think that it would be so cool to start this event here with our own funding,” she said. “When we ask Notre Dame for money, ND is branded all over the event.”

Robbins said that the money needed to start the event would be challenging for the group to find from other places.

“No one gives people money to start an original, brand new volunteer event, they give money once the event is planned,” she said. “I think it is best if we give them the money and consider it part of a contingency plan.”

Student Services commissioner Kate Wallach said she felt there were tight time issues that would hinder the event from taking place five months from now.

“They need to talk to other places soon because it will be difficult to get the donations they need before April,” she said.

The Board voted to give the Riley Dance Marathon committee $2,500, with five members abstaining from voting on the issue.

“I feel that the event could be so much more successful if it took place in the fall,” Senior Class president Lauren Condon said. “It could be more beneficial, and it could become a huge event with more time to plan and fundraise.”

Student Body President Kellye Mitros said she would pass along Condon’s suggestion to the committee.

In other BOG news:

u Various student government clubs will be selling coffee and snacks in Trumper during finals week as part of “Treats in Trumper” fundraiser.

u Lessons and Carols will take place this Sunday in Loretto at 7:30 p.m.